Q&A with NPEU Member Rami Jackson
An Interview with NPEU Member Rami Jackson.
What do you do at EPI?
I am the Development Associate, I do high stakes and important donor analysis in order to help fund the research that helps workers. EPI kicks ass for workers and it helps you kick ass too, support EPI with $5.
How long have you been a NPEU member?
About a year, I joined after Kayla [Blado of the EPI unit and interim NPEU president] reached out me. I always knew that unions were good, but like most Americans I didn’t really think about them until joining one. The benefits of having a union became apparent overnight, no wonder these plutocrats hate them so much.
Is this your first time working in a unionized workplace? If so, how is it different from a non-union workplace you've worked in? If not, how is NPEU different from the previous union you were part of?
This is my first time working in a unionized workplace. Honestly, it is a major departure from my previous work experiences. At the corporate sandwich shop I worked at, we had to sign waivers stating we would forego Obamacare or else we would be fired/our hours would be cut to the point where we would quit. Fired over a political statement that the CEO wanted to make, can you believe that?
We didn’t have a union at my other development organization, really left-wing ideologically until it comes to workers’ rights. This sounds like a common situation.
What has your overall experience been like working at a unionized workplace?
Wonderful. The union has your back as a worker and is without a doubt one of your friends in high-stress meetings. Unions are the friend you have in your back pocket who want you to succeed.
What do you value most about your NPEU contract?
What I value most about my NPEU contract is that it demands accountability from my employer, and it also promotes diverse hiring and organizing within my employer. The vacation days, the collective bargaining, and the fact it even exists are really cool as well. Seriously, a NPEU contract is one of the few tools a nonprofit worker has to fight in your favor, use and abuse it.
I also value that NPEU understands that workers’ rights are civil rights, are women’s rights, are black rights, are LGBTQ+ rights, etc. If you look at the history of modern democracy, mobilizing workers has been the building block of that democracy and the protector of it.
How would you like to see NPEU grow or develop in the next five years?
I would like to see NPEU develop an organizing model that allows for other unions to follow our lead. Our growth has been awesome and the top down model of bureaucracies may be useful for some organizations, but I believe it our dynamism that makes NPEU unique and successful. As our political infrastructure becomes infected by a far right minority that knows it will inevitably be defeated - as it can’t stand in a real democracy - we have to take to forms of organizing that can’t be crushed by kangaroo courts and bullshit laws. We also must focus our energies even more so on protecting marginalized workers such as women, immigrants, LGBTQ+ and racial minorities who are most likely to be harmed by workplace abuse.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Outside of work I like to write, practice my art, swim, play poker, cook and garden. Currently, I am writing a short story about love and romance for a contest. Wish me luck!
Do you have any skills or talents that you could offer NPEU members, if they need it?
If they need someone who looks like Obama in a suit, then I’m their guy.
What are your social media handles?
You don’t want my nonsense on your timeline, I’ll save you the trouble. However, you should follow the NPEU Twitter and my friend Kendal on SoundCloud, he’s the hottest musician out of Texas since Travis Scott. You can also read my political blog here, but if you don’t want to I understand because everyone has an opinion.
I’m also going to use this space for a couple of shoutouts, shoutout to Kayla and Dan for being excellent union leaders after Alan stepped down. Shoutouts to Alan for doing this for so long, all three have really inspired me to get more involved. Shoutouts to our CBA team, you all are the best and got me a raise. Love your union folks!